2012 Volkswagen Jetta - adding spice with the dynamic new GLI

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Photography by: Volkswagen of America
2012 Frost Silver Metallic VW Jetta GLI Front 3Q
2012 Frost Silver Metallic VW Jetta GLI Front 3Q Source Volkswagen of America
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2012 Frost Silver Metallic VW Jetta GLI Front 3Q 2012 Frost Silver Metallic VW Jetta GLI Driving 2012 Frost Silver Metallic VW Jetta GLI Driving 2012 Frost Silver Metallic VW Jetta GLI Driving 2012 Frost Silver Metallic VW Jetta GLI Front 2012 Frost Silver Metallic Jetta GLI Driving Rear
2012 Tornado Red Volkswagen Jetta GLI Driving 2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Interior Dashboard 2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Interior Seats 2012 Platinum Gray Metallic VW Jetta GLI Front 2012 Platinum Gray Metallic VW Jetta GLI 3Q Front 2012 Platinum Gray Metallic VW Jetta GLI Side
2012 Platinum Gray Metallic VW Jetta GLI 3Q Rear 2012 Deep Black Metallic VW Jetta GLI Front 2012 Deep Black Metallic VW Jetta GLI 3Q Front 2012 Deep Black Metallic Volkswagen Jetta GLI Side 2012 Deep Black Metallic VW Jetta GLI 3Q Rear 2012 Frost Silver Metallic VW Jetta GLI Front
2012 Frost Silver Metallic VW Jetta GLI Front 3Q 2012 Frost Silver Metallic VW Jetta GLI Side 2012 Frost Silver Metallic VW Jetta GLI Rear 3Q 2012 Tornado Red Volkswagen Jetta GLI Front 2012 Tornado Red Volkswagen Jetta GLI 3Q Front 2012 Tornado Red Volkswagen Jetta GLI Side
2012 Tornado Red Volkswagen Jetta GLI 3Q Rear 2012 Candy White Volkswagen Jetta GLI Front 2012 Candy White Volkswagen Jetta GLI Front 3Q 2012 Candy White Volkswagen Jetta GLI Side 2012 Candy White Volkswagen Jetta GLI Rear Q
  • The top-selling Jetta line-up gets a boost with the addition of the turbocharged GLI model
  • Introduced as an all-new 2011 model, Jetta has been an instant hit with buyers
  • Continues as Volkswagen’s top-selling U.S. model with sales up 74.8 percent in first seven months of 2011
  • New for 2012, Jetta GLI delivers thrilling performance and handling, with bold design, all at an exceptional value with a starting MSRP of $23,495
  • New Jetta models for 12MY—S with Sunroof, and TDI® Clean Diesel with Premium
  • New-for-2012 Fender® Premium Audio
  • 2012 Jetta line-up now features 12 models, with an exceptional starting MSRP of just $16,495
  • Chosen as one of the ‘2011 Top 10 Coolest New Cars Under $18,000’ by the editors at Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com

American buyers love the Jetta. With sales up an impressive 74.8 percent in the first seven months of the year, consumers are seizing the opportunity to drive a German-engineered sedan with sophisticated style, at an accessible price.

And with the arrival of a 2012 line-up that includes the sportiest, most performance-focused Jetta yet—the fun-to-drive, turbocharged Jetta GLI—the appeal of Volkswagen’s stylish compact four-door shows no sign of easing.

For 2012, the Jetta range has been expanded to no fewer than 12 unique models, with a choice of three gasoline engines—2.0L, 2.5L and 2.0L TSI® turbo—plus the 42 highway mpg TDI® Clean Diesel.

What hasn’t changed is a pricing strategy that continues to make the Jetta accessible to more consumers. With a starting price of $16,495, the 2012 Jetta S offers exceptional value. And the value story continues all the way through the Jetta range, with the extremely well-equipped 2012 2.0T Jetta GLI starting at just $23,495.

Yet even the entry-level Jetta models come extremely well-equipped. The 2.0L Jetta S, with a starting MSRP of $16,495, comes standard with air conditioning, one-touch auto up/down power windows, power locks with keyless entry, and power heated exterior mirrors, along with a host of safety features such as Electronic Stability Control, six airbags, ABS braking and Volkswagen’s Intelligent Crash Response System.

New for 2012 – Jetta GLI

2012 Frost Silver Metallic Volkswagen Jetta GLI Front 3Q View

The arrival of the all-new 2012 Jetta GLI rounds out the Jetta family, offering the sportiest package in the range. With a rich heritage that dates back to 1984, the new Jetta GLI will appeal to both automotive enthusiasts and everyday drivers alike.

The Jetta GLI boasts the award-winning 2.0L TSI turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine that sets the performance benchmark in the iconic Golf GTI. Generating 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque, the GLI delivers impressive drivability and acceleration.

A six-speed manual transmission is standard equipment, while Volkswagen’s acclaimed DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission, offered with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters and super-quick shifts, is optional.

The Jetta GLI benefits from a track-tuned independent performance suspension that includes a multilink rear setup, re-tuned spring and damper settings and a 15-mm lower ride height. Volkswagen’s XDS® cross differential system that debuted on the GTI is standard on the Jetta GLI, helping prevent inside wheelspin during hard cornering.

The GLI features a more dynamic look than the regular Jetta, courtesy of a new honeycomb grille, a deeper front spoiler, and GTI-style vertical fog lamps and red-painted brake calipers. At the rear, there are smoked taillights and dual exhaust tips.

2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Interior Seats

Like the exterior, the interior of the Jetta GLI stays true to its performance roots. Side-bolstered sport bucket seats feature bright-red stitching; there’s matching red stitching on the flat-bottom steering wheel; and aluminum pedals, shift knob, dash and door trim.

Wheel design is also important to performance enthusiasts, so the Jetta GLI offers striking 10-spoke 17-inch alloys as the standard wheel, with a wide-spoke 18-inch design for the GLI Autobahn model. A stunning 18-inch Motorsport Black rim is available as an option on all GLI models.

Available in three trim levels, the Jetta GLI has a starting MSRP of $23,495. The GLI Autobahn, with an MSRP of $25,545, adds 18-inch wheels, a sunroof, dual-zone climate control, heated V-Tex leatherette seats, and the must-hear Fender® Premium Audio System.

The top of the line Jetta GLI Autobahn with Navigation adds the RNS 315 navigation system and keyless access with push-button start technology for an MSRP of $26,445.

New features and packages for 2012

Bundling some of the most-requested stand-alone options into packages, there are new model additions to the Jetta line-up for 2012.

There is a new S with Sunroof model that not only features a tilt and slide power glass sunroof, but adds a front center console with an armrest and storage box, plus cruise control.

There’s also a new TDI® Clean Diesel, which is powered by diesel fuel only, with a Premium package that includes a sunroof and the Fender® Premium Audio system with HD radio.

New Fender® Premium Audio

Volkswagen is changing the meaning of the term ‘performance vehicle’ by adding the remarkable new Fender® Premium Audio System to the 2012 Jetta line-up.

Developed through collaboration between Fender and Panasonic, the system cranks out 400 watts of power played through nine speakers, including a trunk-mounted subwoofer, to bring the raw emotion of a live music performance to the driving experience.

And the same cool, chromed Fender logo that has graced the guitar ‘amps’ of some of the world’s greatest rock legends is featured on the A-pillar tweeters on the Jetta’s Fender® sound system.

Fender® Premium Audio comes standard with the 2012 Jetta SEL, the TDI® Clean Diesel models with Premium and Premium and Navigation, GLI Autobahn, and GLI Autobahn with Navigation models.


Marketing experts call it ‘class-up appeal’. It’s the offering of more, for less. Which is why, when Volkswagen completely redesigned the Jetta for the 2011 model year, it crafted a bigger car, with a longer wheelbase and 2.9 inches added to the overall length.

The increased dimensions allowed designers to incorporate clear, precise lines and muscular surfaces to impart a timeless elegance, giving the impression that this is a car from a higher class.

At the front, the coupe-like incline of the windscreen and the consistent use of horizontal lines define the Jetta’s design. The horizontal blades in the grille, together with the blades in the lower intake, are designed to make the Jetta appear wider and more dynamic.

To break-up the tall body sides of the new Jetta, Volkswagen brand head of design Klaus Bischoff and his team created a pronounced character line—a ‘tornado’ line. This cuts through the large side surfaces, running as a sharp crease from the rearmost edge of the headlight, beneath the windows, softening-out as it reaches the rear lights.

To give visual weight to the lower part of the Jetta and impart a sense of the car being ‘planted’ to the road, the base of the doors is eased outwards. The pronounced wheelarches also add visual width and weight to the car.

It’s a design that oozes refined style and timeless elegance; a shape the will likely remain fresh and modern in years to come.


A key benefit of the Jetta’s extended wheelbase—it stretches an incredible 104.4 inches—with impressive seat legroom of 38.1 inches. Long legs can rejoice. That gently arcing roofline also means more than ample headroom of 37.1 inches.

And stretch-out legroom in the back isn’t achieved by a cramped front seat either. Being tailored primarily for an American audience—the U.S. is the Jetta’s biggest market globally—there is no shortage of legroom and headroom up front.

Just open any of the Jetta’s wide-angled doors and the quality of materials, the fit and finish, and the clean, simple, refined elegance of the cabin is clearly visible. And in true German tradition, the layout of the fascia, the positioning of the switches and controls, and the clarity of the oversized, round instruments is designed to be ergonomic and intuitive.

Trunk space also borders on the cavernous. The Jetta offers a class-leading 15.7 cubic feet of usable load space, and can be increased significantly by folding forward the 60/40-split rear seatback. The rear seatback is also offered with a pass-through to accommodate longer items, like skis.

Engines and Transmission

The 2012 Jetta line-up features four engine options, including the gasoline 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder, 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder, 2.0-liter TSI turbocharged four-cylinder, and 2.0-liter TDI® Clean Diesel.

The 2.0L that powers the Jetta S and Jetta S with Sunroof models, features two valves per cylinder and sequential multi-point fuel injection to deliver 115 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque. It’s offered with a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. With the five-speed, the EPA fuel economy is estimated at 24 mpg city and 34 mpg highway.

Volkswagen’s proven 2.5L is offered in the 2012 Jetta SE, SE with Convenience, SE with Convenience and Sunroof, and SEL models. It features chain-driven double overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder and maintenance-free hydraulic valves. It makes 177 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque and is available with a five-speed manual transmission or six-speed automatic. With the manual gearbox, EPA-estimated fuel economy is 23 mpg city and 33 mpg highway.

Powering the new Jetta GLI models—the GLI, GLI Autobahn, and GLI Autobahn with Navigation—is Volkswagen’s award-winning double-overhead cam, 16-valve, 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine that produces 200 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. While it gives the GLI exhilarating performance, it is also highly efficient with its EPA-estimated economy of 24 mpg city and 32 mpg on the highway when equipped with Volkswagen’s fast-shifting DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission.

A favorite engine choice among Jetta buyers is the highly efficient 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder TDI Clean Diesel engine that produces 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. With either the standard six-speed manual transmission or the DSG automatic, the Jetta TDI can, according to EPA estimates, average 30 mpg in the city and an impressive 42 mpg on the highway. That enables the Jetta TDI to cover up to 609 miles on a single tank.


All Jetta models are fitted with a strut-type front suspension with coil springs, telescopic dampers and an anti-roll bar. At the rear, with the exception of the dynamic new Jetta GLI, there is a torsion beam with coil springs, telescopic dampers and an anti-roll bar. With this torsion beam layout, two trailing arms are linked by means of a stiff cross member. The advantages of the layout include excellent directional stability when cornering, a smooth ride, and a compact, space-saving design.

The sportier GLI, which rides 15mm lower than other Jetta models, gets a sophisticated multilink independent rear suspension. It features three transverse and one longitudinal link per wheel—hence the four-link moniker. This enables the longitudinal and transverse dynamics to be precisely configured almost independently of each other. The result is a more agile, responsive and precise handling. The GLI also features, as standard, the impressive XDS® Cross Differential System.

Safety and Security

Safety in the 2012 Volkswagen Jetta starts with an extraordinarily stiff and rigid bodyshell constructed using seamless laser welding and high-strength steel in key areas. The front of the car is also crash-optimized, featuring impact-absorbing elements integrated into the front structure which compress under impact.

All Jetta models naturally come standard with Electronic Stability Control (ESC)—a feature the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has called ‘the most effective new vehicle safety technology since the safety belt’. This electronic guardian angel can detect when a car starts skidding, help prevent it from breaking away and keep the driver in control.

Also standard on all Jetta models are driver and front passenger front and side thorax airbags and Side Curtain Protection® airbags front and rear. There is also a suite of advanced electronic safety aids, like Anti-lock Braking (ABS), Electronic Brake-pressure Distribution (EBD), and Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA) that come standard.

Volkswagen’s Intelligent Crash Response System (ICRS) reacts instantly in an accident when the airbags are deployed. It unlocks the doors, turns off the fuel pump, and even activates the car’s hazard lights.

And as with all Volkswagen models, the 2012 Jetta is covered under the no-charge Carefree Maintenance Program. All scheduled maintenance is covered for the length of the New Vehicle Limited Warranty—three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Model Line-up

The addition of the sporty GLI, together with new ease-of-ordering package models like the S with Sunroof, and TDI® Clean Diesel with Premium, the 2012 Jetta range now encompasses 12 different models.

2.0L S

With a highly-attractive starting MSRP of $16,495, the 2.0L S provides entry into the Jetta family. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, with a six-speed automatic optional. Key standard features include power windows and locks, air conditioning, RCD 310 radio with CD player, aux-in connection, remote keyless entry, power and heated exterior mirrors, six-way adjustable front seats, 60/40-split rear seat, and tilt and telescopic steering wheel.

2.0L S with Sunroof

Priced from $17,645 with a five-speed manual transmission, this new model for 2012 adds a power tilt and sliding sunroof, front center console with armrest and storage box, and cruise control.

2.5L SE

Priced from $18,495, the SE adds the 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine, 16-inch steel wheels, V-Tex leatherette seating surfaces, chrome interior accents, rear center armrest with pass-through.

2.5L SE with Convenience

Priced from $19,845, standard features include 16-inch Sedona alloy wheels, heated front seats, leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, Bluetooth®, MDI with iPod cable, six-speaker sound system.

2.5L SE with Convenience and Sunroof

Priced from $21,185, additional equipment includes power tilt and sliding glass sunroof, Premium VIII touchscreen radio with SD memory card reader.

2.5L SEL

Priced from $23,195, the SEL includes standard 17-inch Joda alloy wheels; four-wheel disc brakes; chrome front grille and window trim; fog lights; Fender® premium audio with subwoofer; RNS 315 touch-screen navigation with SD memory card reader; keyless access with push-button start; trip computer; driver lumbar adjustment.

2.0L TDI® Clean Diesel

With a starting MSRP of $22,525, standard features includes the 2.0L TDI engine, four-wheel disc brakes, 16-inch Mambo alloy wheels, trip computer.

2.0L TDI® Clean Diesel with Premium

Priced from $23,965, it adds power tilt and sliding sunroof, Premium VIII touch-screen radio with Fender® premium audio.

2.0L TDI® Clean Diesel with Premium and Navigation

Priced from $25,095, it adds chrome front grille and window trim, driver seat manual lumbar, RNS 315 touch-screen navigation with SD memory card reader, keyless access with push-button start.

2.0T GLI

With a starting price of $23,495, standard features include: 2.0-liter, 200 hp TSI engine; 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with 225/45 R17H all-season tires; sport bumpers and side skirts; red painted brake calipers; hill hold control; front fog lights; darkened taillights; chrome window trim; leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, brake handle and shift knob; steering-wheel mounted shift paddles (DSG only); compass; sport pedals and shift knob; red interior stitching; cloth front comfort sport seats with manual lumbar for driver seat; 60/40 split folding rear seats with center armrest and pass-through; aux input; Bluetooth®; cruise control; MDI with iPod® cable; Premium VIII touch-screen radio with six speakers; trip computer; one-touch up/down power windows.

2.0T GLI Autobahn

Priced from $25,545, the Autobahn adds 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels with 225/40 R18H all-season tires, power tilt/sliding sunroof, V-Tex leatherette, heated front sport seats, heated washer nozzles, cooling glovebox, Climatronic® automatic A/C, Fender® premium sound system with subwoofer.

2.0T GLI Autobahn with Navigation

Priced from $26,445, it adds RNS 315 navigation system, keyless access with push-button start/stop.


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